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All in the Family - The Complete Third Season


Info: DVD Release Date: July 20, 2004 (Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment)
MSRP: $29.95
Number of discs: 3
Number of episodes: 24
Running Time: Approx. 610 minutes
Languages and subtitles: English-mono, Closed Captioned.
Special Features: Bonus Trailers for Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment products (Classic Comedy, Contemporary TV, and Original Programming).

All in the Family - Season Three DVD Menu


The hilarious landmark comedy series All in the Family returns for its third season with its flawless sense of ensemble chemistry, precision timing, and lasting political relevance intact (and went on to win both the Emmy and Golden Globe for Outstanding Comedy Series). These characters have become television's first dysfunctional family: blue-collar conservative Archie (Carroll O'Connor), his long-suffering but loving wife Edith (Jean Stapleton), "little girl" Gloria (Sally Struthers), and her liberal husband "Meathead" Mike (Rob Reiner). Series creator Norman Lear broke every rule and taboo, but their foibles produced some of television's biggest laughs. They could also make us cry, in the heartbreaking "Gloria, the Victim", or shock us, in "The Bunkers & the Swingers" (1973 Emmy for Writing in a Comedy Series). The model for sitcoms to come, All in the Family brilliantly and intimately portrayed the American family while reflecting the social and political landscape of the '70s, leaving an indelible mark on popular culture.

This 3-disc set features all 24 episodes from All in the Family's 3rd season (1972-1973). This season saw the addition of Sherman Hemsley as George Jefferson to the cast. He was the wife of Louise (Isabel Sanford) and father of Lionel (Mike Evans). Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford would later get their own series "The Jeffersons," also on CBS. Season 3 also welcomed Betty Garrett and Victor Gardenia as Irene and Frank Lorenzo - neighbors of the Bunkers.


The packaging of this set is similar to the first two seasons except the DVD case slips out from the left of the outer box instead of the right as the earlier sets. There is a three-fold digipak that holds the three discs, and there is a pocket that holds an episode guide booklet and a flyer that promotes current and future (227 Season One, Diff'rent Strokes Season One, and What's Happening Season Two) TV Show DVD releases by Columbia Tri-Star. There is a nice photo of Archie sitting in his chair with Edith by his side on the back of the DVD case. The episode guide booklet features short summaries of the episodes, with writing and directing credits listed as well. It would have been nice of them to include the original broadcast dates for the episodes. Unlike the two previous releases, there are photos on the actual discs. Disc 1 features Carroll O'Connor (Episodes 1-8), Disc 2 has Jean Stapleton (Episodes 9-16), and Disc 3 has a photo of Sally Struthers and Rob Reiner (Episodes 17-24).

The color scheme for this set is predominantly orange. The main menus feature the same photo as the outer DVD box and DVD cover case with an orange background, although the photo is not cropped on the dvd menus. There is an option to 'Play All Episodes' or you can go by 'Episode Selections' which has a photo from each episode.

Menu Design and Navigation:

The menus are simple and easy to navigate, with the play all feature that many had probably wanted for the first two season sets.

Video and Audio Quality:

The episodes look as good as can be expected. There are similar problems with the audio and video occasionally, as there were on the first two season sets. All in the Family was originally recorded on analog videotape which will degrade and in mono. Columbia Tri-Star likely tried to make these episodes as presentable as possible with some digital impovements.

Special Features:

Like the first two season sets, there are no extras directly related to All in the Family. There are three previews for Columbia Tri-Star DVD for 'Classic Comedy TV', 'Contemporary TV,' and 'Original Programming' on the 3rd disc. These clips run about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes in length.

Final Comments:

Season 3 was another strong one for All in the Family, with it ranking #1 in the Nielsen ratings for the 2nd consecutive year with an impressive 33.3 share for CBS. It would remain the #1 rated show in the country for three additional seasons. Fans that enjoyed the first two releases will like this set also. I think the cover art would have been better without the 'halo' effect, and they could have just used a standard cast photo. It would be nice in a future set for them to include some bonus features such as a tribute to Carroll O'Connor, interviews with Norman Lear and other cast members, and some behind-the-scenes footage or bloopers.

Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):

Video quality: 4.0/5
Audio quality: 4.0/5
Special Features: NA
Menu Design/Navigation: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.0/5

-- Reviewed by Todd Fuller on 06/27/04

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